(2002)

Critic Reviews

51

Metascore

Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
91
Entertainment Weekly
After a while, a didactic overdeliberateness seeps into Noé's design, but there's no doubt that he's a new kind of dark film wizard: a poet of apocalyptic shock.
88
It would be easy and convenient to dismiss Irreversible as blatant sensationalism. But Noe's bruising film is too artfully crafted to write off as exploitation.
88
Miami Herald
The moral of Irreversible -- time destroys everything -- isn't nearly as profound as writer-director Gaspar Noé seems to think it is, which is why some critics have already dismissed the movie as the facile, misogynistic posturings of a provocateur.
88
ReelViews
Whatever else it may be, Irreversible is disturbingly unforgettable. It is impossible to have a blasé reaction to a film this visceral. Indifference is not an option.
75
Chicago Sun-Times
The fact is, the reverse chronology makes Irreversible a film that structurally argues against rape and violence, while ordinary chronology would lead us down a seductive narrative path toward a shocking, exploitative payoff.
75
Noe's despairing view of human nature is as thoughtful as it is grim, limning the most appalling aspects of earthly experience in terms recalling Dante and Bosh, among other apocalyptic artists.
63
New York Daily News
Once you're past THOSE scenes, and come to know the context and characters involved, you'll find something both deeply humanist and emotionally complex.
50
To cut Noe a break, it does become evident that he has a viable narrative concept. Told backward, á la "Memento."
40
Noé, with his Nietzsche-for-knuckleheads nihilism and extreme-cinema ambitions, clearly fancies himself a visionary, but mounting a camera on a roller coaster or putting a story into rewind doesn't make a film formally adventurous or interesting. Conceiving of a gay club as an antechamber to the inferno and sexualizing a woman's rape, however, do make it titillating.
40
Wall Street Journal
To get to the beginning, one must first get through the end, which is almost literally unendurable.
25
Noe isn't a graceful filmmaker. He wants to traumatize his audience, barnstorm us, make us pay in anxiety and sweat and scorched nerves for the ugly truths he wants us to swallow.
25
Philadelphia Inquirer
Maybe, you think, there is something daring and brilliant going on here: an excursion into the darkest territories of the human soul. But no. In the end -- or the beginning -- there is no point to all this. Or at least not a point worth making, and making us watch.

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